You can answer the “Who are you” question with a name, and that’s what we usually do. But a moment’s reflection will tell you the name is something that is given to you. It’s like a label on a suit. It’s not the suit.
You could answer the “Who are you” question by describing a relationship with others. You’re a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a mother or father, but take the relationship away and you still exist. These relative descriptions, important as they may be, may be nothing more than labels too.
You could define yourself in terms of values and beliefs, and this may be a helpful exercise. You can say “I am someone who believes in this or that”, but have we actually got to the “someone”?
You could say you are a manager, a professional or any other work title you like, and then you would be something else when you are not performing that role. But who is the actor when she is not in character? We perform many roles in our lives – and that’s OK – and we identify with the roles, even imagining that we are them, but a role is just a role. Who is playing the roles?
Strip all the roles away – like layers of an onion – and who remains: who do you say you are?
This is the first of several self-discovery articles. You can discover more of the Secret Self with Nigel Linacre in London from 6.45pm on 26th Feb – book here.